Morass of Molasses – These Paths We Tread

The first album from UK trio Morass of Molasses has definitely been one encounter we have here been keenly anticipating, almost from the day the band first stepped forward with a couple of senses infesting, psyche twisting tracks. Their fusion of doom, sludge, and stoner bred textures served in a swamp of aural filth just fed all the instincts and continued to through their debut EP a few months after. Now we have These Paths We Tread to devour, an album which we will admit had us a touch unsure initially.

Instantly enjoyable, These Paths We Tread still had thoughts crowding to contemplate its new proposal of sound. Morass Of Molasses has lured their music from the filth infested depths of the swamp into a cleaner yet still aurally clinging landscape. That is not to say that it does not still come with a healthy coating of scuzz and doom lined dirt but it is a lumbering trespass of sound which is almost more celebratory than predatory. Quite simply their sound has matured, grown up even, and hindsight through listening back at certainly that last EP, So Flows Our Fate, shows it was an evolution on the cards even back then. To be honest we miss the filth but it has not stopped These Paths We Tread through time and listens blossoming into one seriously striking encounter loaded with the potential of even greater adventures ahead with the threesome of vocalist/baritone guitarist Bones ‘The Beard’ Huse, lead guitarist Phil ‘The Mountain’ Williams, and drummer Chris ‘The Beast’ West.

These Paths We Tread gets off to a mighty start with My Leviathan, its gentle caresses of melody and atmospheric waves a deceptive coaxing into the waiting jaws of colossal riffs and flirtatiously tangy grooves. Settling into a predacious crawl entwining raw causticity with salacious seduction, the song roams ears and imagination like a primal siren. Bones’ raw throaty roars share pure toxicity at times, his hostile tones matched by the punchy rhythms of West but tempered by his own calmer vocal tempting and the sonic web cast by Williams. Continually twisting through an array of perpetual incitement on ears and appetite, the track is glorious, its emerging funkiness icing on the feral cake.

Recent times has seen MOM tear into stages alongside the likes of Orange Goblin, Ohhms, Vodun, Elephant Tree, Desert Storm, Space Witch, Sea Bastard, Gurt, and Limb among many others, and there are essences of a few of these within second track So They Walk. Its grooves seep Orange Goblin/Kyuss like taunting whilst its irritable side has a Sleep like causticity, all merged into a distinct MOM recipe and a track like its predecessor which hits the spot with relish.

Continuing themes of “mythic sin and ancient archetypes”, album and next up Serpentine lyrically and musically bind the listener in evocative textures. The third track winds around ears with a dexterity and sonic adeptness emulating its title, grooves almost slithering across the imagination as rhythms bite. Bones’ warm if emotionally deceitful vocals contrast the underlying volatility of the track superbly, also erupting at times to spark a sonic wave fuelling greater weight and intensity throughout. It is a bewitching affair, not as instantly gripping as the first pair of songs but blossoming with every listen into an instinctive temptation before the brief incantation of The Ritual lures and the haunting presence of Centralia descends. A weave of stoner bred enterprise lined with provocative shadows and ghostly whispers as infectious rhythms drive a rolling canter, the second of the two is a well of suggestion coloured by the skilful adventure of Williams on guitar strings.

Next up Maenads is a psychosis of drama and sound, simultaneously enthralling and threatening with seduction and primal toning. It is fair to say, as the album, the track grows and infests deeper into the psyche with every taking of its inflamed intoxication; its melodic anaesthetic fascinating and feral instincts tantalising before things end with Wrath Of Aphrodite, a song which maybe did not quite spark the passions as richly as its companions yet has body and appetite for more bouncing to its groove woven, heavily boned rock ‘n’ roll.

Certainly for fans of the band, These Paths We Tread  will maybe need time to grow and develop on ears and thoughts though newcomers will find Morass of Molasses a quick persuasion we are sure. Yes we still miss the filth but the album blossoms into something thickly compelling and increasingly pleasurable; how stupid of us to doubt with those first thoughts.

These Paths We Tread is out now through HeviSike Records in various formats @ https://morassofmolasses.bandcamp.com and http://www.hevisike.com/product/morass-of-molasseslp

https://www.facebook.com/MorassOfMolasses

Pete RingMaster 24/05/2017

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

Boudain – Way of the Hoof

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For those with a lust for the groove and the fattiest slabs of heavy rock ‘n’ roll flavoured meat, the checking out of US stoners Boudain might just be the best order of the day. The quartet has just unleashed debut album Way of the Hoof,  a ravenous swamp of stoner and sludge infested waters  which preys on the psyche whilst feeding the appetite for dirty and fiery rock ‘n’ roll. Influences to the band include the likes of Sleep, Melvins, Kyuss, and Fu Manchu which their album does not shy away from bringing to the party in flavour across its eight thumping trespasses, especially the last of the four. To that though, Boudain add their own meaty sauce for something which mighty not be breaking the banks of originality but certainly feeds the soul and appetite for imposing metal and invasive rock.

Consisting of bassist/vocalist Chris Porter, guitarists Brian Lenard and David Karakash, and drummer Stephen Jester, Boudain released their first EP in 2013. The self-titled six-track offering caught the ears and attention of a great many which Way of the Hoof is now poised to escalate, to easily assumed, broader heights. Opener Sleazy Feats swiftly has ears wrapped in almost salacious grooves as rhythms badger and bear down on the senses with a hefty hand. Riffs and vocal swipes only add to the highly agreeable introduction, a potency which continues as the song swings with zeal and enterprise across its fiery body. Surprises are not an open proposal though a freshness to the familiar landscape is, and increasingly so as Lenard and Karakash incite their grooves and toxic melodies to breed an even stronger strain of temptation.

Boudain art _RingMasterReviewSome might suggest that the album is a touch muddy but as the opener and following Neptune alone show, it is a thick smothering which adds to the swampy, at times almost delta blues like, intensity and richness of songs and release. The second track brings a bit of punk to its contagious confrontation too, clashing percussion uniting with the predation of the rhythms as the song simultaneously swings and prowls. Quickly it eclipses the impressive strength of its predecessor, continuing to impress and inflame ears with its thickening web of grooves and sonic acidity before allowing CODA to share its own imposing wares. Whereas the first pair flew at the jugular and senses, this track prowls, almost stalks the listener as its tar thick sludge breeding consumes ears. Porter’s vocals, or Lenard’s as the two apparently share duties across the release, again provide a great mix of growl and dirt encrusted infectiousness as they match the textures of the sound around them.

A cosmic ambience lines the sweltering lure of guitar as 3 Man steps up next; that sultry invitation and suggestiveness lying upon a great rhythmic rumble led by the swinging throaty infectiousness of the bass. The song soon slips into a more expected stoner blaze though drums and bass continue to cast their rhythmic hex on ears and appetite as the guitars weave an intoxicating tapestry; a knit which continues right to the end even as the song becomes more aggressively volatile.

First Class rips into ears next, it taking the listener back to the more hellacious type of assault the album opened with as tangy grooves and scything beats take their share of attention along with the brooding bass and attitude soaked vocals. Once more, a recognisable air to the track is rife but only within that welcoming Boudain character that ensures nothing is as simple as being a copy of those earlier mentioned influences or others.

Through The Mighty Turn Around and its sonically spatial exploration, and the rawer bruising stroll of Disco Jimmy, ears and album continue to be bound together. The first of the two has some of the most mouth-watering bait in its grooves and psyche infesting rock ‘n’ roll whilst its successor is a psych rock igniting of the imagination which lights the flames of thorough enjoyment if not the major excitement some of its earlier companions provoked. Nevertheless both leave ears more than content with the closing cover of Blue Oyster Cult’s Godzilla adding its enjoyable feed; the band treating the track to its prowling strain of sludge and stoner predation.

It is a fine end to an album which might have provided its major moments in its first half but from start to finish only inspires a real want for more and the idea that Boudain have the potential to sculpt major temptations luring equal attention ahead. They have plenty to get a little lustful over right now too which Way Of The Hoof offers with relish.

 Way Of The Hoof is out now @ http://boudain.bandcamp.com/

https://www.facebook.com/boudainla/   https://twitter.com/boudainmusic

Pete RingMaster 21/04/2016

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Buffalo Theory MTL – Skeptic Knight

photo - Benoit Nantel

photo – Benoit Nantel

Creating a bruising and boozy riot of rapacious rock ‘n’ roll, Canadian quintet Buffalo Theory MTL are releasing their latest uproar of sound and attitude this month in the boisterously muscular shape of Skeptic Knight. The five-track EP is a roar of debaucherous intent amidst heavy cantankerous sound which, without any major surprises, simply gets you in the mood to feverishly brawl and party.

Hailing from Montreal MTL consists of guitarists Pat Gordon and Yannick Pilon of Vantablack Warship, bassist Gary Lyons, drummer Brian Craig, and vocalist veteran Anton Parr. Between them, they have been part of very well-known Quebec groups such as the Ghoulunatics, Les Ékorchés, and Arseniq 33 whilst Parr’s history includes playing in thrash bands in Brazil. Together they brew a thick and predatory breed of stoner metal infused with thrash fury; a sound which, since the band formed in 2009, has fuelled an early demo followed by debut album Heavy Ride in 2012 and two years later, the Murder Trilogy EP. Both have been well-received proposals backed by a live hunger which has seen the band share stages with the likes of The Atomic Bitchwax, The Naked High, Diamond Head, Skull Fist, Thor, Misery Index, BARF, Insurrection, Iron Giant, Tunguska Mammoth, and many more.

Mastered and mixed by Peter Edwards, Skeptic Knight is Buffalo Theory MTL in full adrenaline pumped, rock ‘n’ roll embracing, voraciousness which Lyons describes as “…our best material to date and it’s damn heavy as usual”, adding “ It has a different sounding production that we like a lot. We completed 5 songs for the release. There were lots of riffs just waiting to be completed and it was hard to choose which ones to release first as we are already prepared to unleash another EP by next year to follow it. We always prefer to gather a few good songs and go into the studio being ready to release something new more often, rather than waiting too long for a LP type of setup with 10+ songs.

BTMTL-Skeptic-Knight_RingMaster ReviewOf course proof of word and success is always in the eating of the pudding and there is no doubting that opener Conspiracy in Paranoland alone is one tasty incitement of new yet prime Buffalo Theory MTL rampaging for ears and appetite to devour. A track knocking around since the band’s early days, it comes built on ravenous riffs, scything rhythms, and a prowling growling bassline to get lustful over. The song initially appears as a proposal just to have a rousing time with but it is soon showing itself a predator. The guitars offer a predacious flirtation led by the boisterous raw tone and vocal delivery of Parr but tempered with spicy grooves and a great guitar and bass nagging which simply helps whip up lustful enjoyment.

The following Punishment is an equally invasive character but centred round an even more bruising thrash seeded ferociousness, a fury bound in acidic grooves and vocal hostility with Pilon potently backing the roar of Parr. With a Pantera/Down like causticity and virulence to grooves and vocals alone, the song romps and stomps with the passions before Get On It swings its sinew sculpted hips as rebellious attitude colludes with bad-blooded rhythms entangled in psyche trespassing grooves. In contrast though, vocals and hooks breed their own more merciful strong anthemic persuasion, adding to devilry to get eagerly involved in whilst being battered around the senses.

The EP’s title track comes next, instantly showing the heaviest presence and thickest web of invasive textures heard yet on the release. It makes a slow, almost lumbering, bestial entrance, relaxes then breaks into a groove infested canter which has body and imagination on board within a mere handful of seconds. That instinctive enticing is helped by the spiciness coating grooves and the arousing impact of the riff driven rabidity which consumes the senses. It is a sonic war machine in hungry motion, the kind of inescapable protagonist which refuses anything less than full involvement in its roar, much like Psychic Enclosure. Like Rage Against The Machine meets Black Sabbath meets Sleep, the closing track riles up and rages against the senses whilst uncaging an imposing contagion of flesh searing grooves and corrosive riffery stalking by merciless rhythms.

It is a fine end to a thunderous encounter leaving ears and pleasure full. Skeptic Knight is heavy duty rock ‘n’ roll to be intimidated by and greedily feast upon. Uniqueness is maybe rare but enjoyment is unrestrained; a proposal few can turn down.

The Skeptic Knight EP is available via Stand Records from February 26th @ https://buffalotheorymtl.bandcamp.com/album/skeptic-knight

https://www.facebook.com/pages/BUFFALO-THEORY-MTL/243777113598

Pete RingMaster 26/02/2016

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Sloths – Twenty Years

Main Press Photo (1)

Voracious, sludgy, uncompromising, and corrosive, all adjectives befitting the sound of US band Sloths and certainly their new EP Twenty Years. They present a thick slab of noise and intensity but also to their diversely flavoured assault and suffocation of the senses, the band explores raw melodic beauty within is just as startling in its emotive scenery. As evidenced by their new release they offer a punishingly heavy and exhausting creative offensive which at times challenges enjoyment, yet persistently it seduces with a predacious elegance to forge the most welcome physical and mental violation. It is a release which may not become your favourite release of this year but one which will spark a long term hunger for more.

Coming out of Portland, Oregon, the 2010 formed Sloths swiftly bred a sound which is as much post hardcore as it is sludge, as much noise rock and hardcore as it is any flavour you can imagine. Their sound is cauldron of noise and intensity aligned to intrusive invention, a recipe which has soaked a demo and a couple of EPs since forming, with Knives of last year a trigger to stronger attention upon the band. Now they unleash Twenty Years and it is easy to expect an even more potent response and reception to the EP’s severe ferocity. Recorded with Fester at Haywire Studios and mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege (Baptists, Sleep, Oathbreaker, Tragedy), Twenty Years uncages a trio of songs connected musically and thematically in a demanding and intimidating exploration looking at “what it means to die young, a theme influenced by the recent death of a friend and the perspective gained by seeing the aftermath of such a tragedy.” The release is immersive smog of energy and sound, a suffocation of shadows and dark emotions veined with a melodic and impassioned light which ensures the release ignites imagination and emotions as powerfully as it does ears.

The EP opens with Elegy, an immediate blaze of aggression and abrasion driven by thunderous rolling rhythms from drummer Nate Sonenfeld and a sonic cacophony cast by guitarist Kyle Bates. It is a fierce examination of the senses TwentyYearsCoverdriven by viciously raw vocals but tempered by the equally dark and imposing, but more composed assault of Alec van Staveren’s bass. The initial impact relaxes as acidic melodies begin exploring the tempest, their unpolished radiance a glimmer of respite within the still boiling climate of emotional turmoil. With grooves adding their heavy spice and imposing hooks a barbarous lure, the track is a dramatic and powerful start to the release.

The song flows into the following Void and it’s less forceful but no less intensive landscape. It is a caustic reflection musically and lyrically, sculpted by evocative melodies and those still thick set and energetic rhythms. The track is initially glazed in a reserved and ruggedly pensive climate but builds up its passion and anger to expel a range of carnivorous riffs and crippling rhythms, all the time working towards a hellacious crescendo and finale. All the time though melodies offer brief escapes and tempering to the fury uncaged and urged on by the voracity of the vocals.

Passing brings the release and emotional turbulence to a close, its initial almost blackened rage expelling torrents of angst and antagonism. The individual skills and energies of the band members converge on the senses with sonic and malicious flames throughout for a destructive satisfaction, yet there is an evolving breath and presence to the song which sees it eventually leaving on a more peaceful acceptance and grace.

Twenty Years is not an easy listen but it is a compelling and emotionally invigorating one which leaves ears and emotions more fulfilled and energised by its close whilst suggesting Sloths is a band due very close attention.

The Twenty Years EP is available through The Ghost is Clear Records, Don’t Live Like Me Records, and Illuminasity Records digitally now @ http://sloths.bandcamp.com/album/twenty-years with a Ltd Ed clear vinyl out from October 2014 and a cassette version via Death Culture Tapes soon after.

https://www.facebook.com/slothsportland

RingMaster 15/10/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Brain Pyramid – Chasma Hideout

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As impressive debut albums go, Chasma Hideout from French psych rockers Brain Pyramid is right up there amongst the most enthralling and scintillating propositions. The seven track sonic exploration is a transfixing adventure of ear bending, mind warping psychedelic revelry, but one equally bred on the finest stoner rock grooving and experimental mischievousness. At times it feels like one massive glorious jam but throughout there is an enterprise and inventiveness which just as potently leaves senses basking and passions greedy. If the album is your introduction to Brain Pyramid, be prepared for one ruggedly spellbinding ride.

The Rennes band was formed in 2012 by guitarist Gaston Lainé and drummer Baptiste Gautier-Lorenzo drawing on inspirations from the likes of Led Zeppelin, Hendrix, Sabbath, Motorhead, and Blue Cheer alongside those of Kyuss, Sleep, Nebula, Earthless, and Orange Goblin. Last year’s well received Magic Carpet Ride EP put ears and attention on notice but now with bassist Ronan Grall of Huata alongside the founding duo, Brain Pyramid is ready to really stir things up with their thrilling offering.a0031606373_2

The earth bound spatial adventure is started by Living in the Outer Space, a country twang and kick over of a truck engine the lift off to a groove driven flight through sultry skies and flaming sonic landscape. Instantly riffs draw a raw canvas framed by an unpredictable rhythmic incitement. It is a compelling coaxing but it is the similarly unpolished vocals and senses entwining grooves which brings the strongest colour to the contagion. A flirtation with a noir wrapped jazzy seduction provides a new twist of pleasure before the fiery surface and enterprise of the song re-establishes a forceful and gripping presence. Continuing to surprise and enthral, the song is a sizzling and immersive treat but only the beginning of the fun.

The following Lazy instantly unveils its funk seeded heat and tenacity, the lure bubbling with relish and energy the more the song reveals itself. Grooves and rhythms make a flavoursome embrace whilst the bass with its throaty temptation offers intriguing shadow soaked hues. It is a roaring blaze of melodic and sonic toxicity, the song worming under the skin through the excellent slightly deranged craft of Lainé and the irresistible heavy stoner-esque stroll of the track. Its success is soon surpassed by the even hotter creative breath and climate of Landing on the Pyramind. Soaked in tenacious and intensive blues flavouring, the song twists and entwines ears with serpentine agility through scorching grooves and another deliciously imposing bass tone. It is a big boned temptress with all the moves and invention to enrapture anyone with a lust for dirty riffs, thunderous rhythms, and caustic sonic beauty.

The pair of Lucifer and Twin Headed Giant provides strong individual temptations, the first a mesh of lumbering intensity and sci-fi noise which leads into a smouldering psychedelic wash of sinister persuasion. This in turn slips into something ferocious and fiery, heavyweight riffing and destructive beats punctuating burning grooves; The Doors meets Orange Goblin and Desert Storm if you will. Though it does lack something compared to its predecessors, the track’s dark demonic texture and presence leaves ears enthralled before its successor draws on even stronger seventies psychedelic and heavy rock inspirations to cast its pulsating and pleasingly raw mind-bending adventure. Guitars and keys radiate hallucinogenic sonic colours aligned to a warped imagination whilst rhythms just as voraciously impose upon and stalk the psyche with the gripping cleaner vocal delivery.

  

The song is a fireball of sound but even its qualities and potency cannot match up to the album’s pinnacle, Into the Lightspeed. The instrumental is sensational; an impossibly addictive and infectious stampede of hooks and grooves bound in another seemingly organic and improvised majesty. Its opening is a riotous almost chaotic coaxing which flirts with disaster as eagerly as the senses before settling into a gloriously robust and hungry swagger of rhythms from Gautier-Lorenzo. Every swing resonates through to the bone even when Hammond-esque keys wind around its spine with taunting relish and the bass of Grall adds its own irrepressible throaty resonance. Spicy grooves and deeply rooting hooks are no strangers either as the piece continues to grow and increase its enslavement on ears and emotions. The track is a mind-bending, thought twisting journey and quite brilliant.

   Chasma Hideout sees its title track bring its triumph to a close. Flowing out of the previous track, its celestial exploration proceeds to soar across an expansive melodic and cavernous ambience, guitars and bass slowly swaying with evocative radiance and imposing enterprise as the good ship Brain Pyramid fuels its flight with a transfixing creative sonic illumination. The song leaves listener and album on a high, its energy and incitement continuing to increase with every second of its creative hunger and technical urgency.

The track is a captivating end to an awe inspiring release. Managing to impress and offer more with each and every listen, Chasma Hideout is one of the year’s real treasures and Brain Pyramid a band destined to leave psychedelic rock aflame now and ahead.

Chasma Hideout is available now via Acid Cosmonaut Records @ http://acidcosmonautrecords.bandcamp.com/album/chasma-hideout

https://www.facebook.com/brainpyramid

RingMaster 02/10/2104

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Tom The Lion – Sleep

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Just who is Tom The Lion? Well he is a British singer songwriter who has cast one seriously mesmeric embrace with his new album Sleep. Other than that, the Leamington Spa bred, London based artist is pretty much a mystery yet to show itself but musically everything you need to know is in the magnetic adventure which makes his latest release one captivating proposition.

2011 saw the acclaimed release of The Adventures of Tom the Lion, the collecting of two previously limited vinyl-only 10″ double EPs. Without seeking out media and critical attention the release was devoured by fans, selling out with ease and now Tom returns with his debut album, building on the impressive base of the earlier encounters and giving more fuel to those classing the artist alongside the likes of Nick Drake, Mark Hollis, and Thom Yorke. It is a release which smoulders from start to finish with an emotive resonance and melodic beauty, each track an intimate yet sonically epic and expressive spark for the imagination. The album does not ignite as many fires in the passions as maybe wished, though when it does ardour is the only outcome, but Sleep is certainly a persistently and thoroughly absorbing journey for thoughts and emotions inspiring a definite hunger.

The album’s title track opens up the release and soon has the ears and imagination eating out of its hand. As guitar coaxing entwines with a shimmering sonic twang whilst distinctive vocal harmonies seep from the throat of Tom, it is like tom-the-lionlying on an aural sea bed watching crystalline light glancing off of and over elegant and expressive melodic colours. Floating with enchanting somnolence over the senses, eclectic hues whispering across the slowly expanding landscape, the song reminds of Lune Palmer and when it explodes into a roar of evocative enterprise of David Byrne. It is a glorious song and an irresistible start to Sleep.

The following Motorcade lays a shadowed beauty on the shoulder of the senses to make a companion but openly different engagement to its predecessor. As with all the songs, it nudges and lures in the listener and their thoughts, though it is also unafraid to expel a more voracious breath at times to crinkle the air and fire up the suasion of the track. Keys and guitar shine brightly as they shimmer, merging reserved caresses with more agitated flames of magnetic invention whilst vocally Tom again draws a potent narrative upon the similarly impacting canvas.

Both Silent Partner and Oil Man keep the striking start to the album in masterful control, even though neither can quite match the previous tracks. The first of the two entices with raw chords and sultry melodies, uniting both in evocative atmospheres over emotion sculpted scenery whilst the second is a haunted and insular soundscape wrapped in warm intrigue. There is a cryptic essence to the song which seduces the imagination whilst once more the vocals manage to sooth and stir up the senses for an appealing incitement. The success of the pair is emulated by Beholden with its classical honed grace and imposing drama, and then the rhythmically enticing November’s Beach. The latter is a gentle yet blazingly warm sunset on the senses with an instinctively gripping dance of adventurous rhythms. Its bait is irresistible, enslaving an already keen appetite with a flavoursome climate of humid sonic enticing and melodic delirium.

Neither Every Single Moment or Winter’s Wool can live up to those before it but each still offers a compelling and lingering presence through smiling guitar enterprise leading to a fiery crescendo and immersive textures of siren-esque and celestial temptation respectively. Lofty heights are soon found again with Our Beloved Past, a stunning slice of folk pop which bounces resourcefully like the offspring of Raglans and The Divine Comedy. From keys to guitar, rhythms to vocals, the song is a poetic fire of passion and contagious invention.

Through the darkly shadowed sky of Ragdoll, the album finds another unexpected pinnacle. Its cloudy emotion and slightly twisted breath is a hypnotic slow walk of angst kissed resonance and melodic exploration which is as compelling as it is startling, though its flow into a more mellow passage loses a little of its early impact.

The album is brought to a close by the catchy bounce and energy of Heal and lastly the intimate emotion of Come To Life, two enjoyable songs which make a fine end to a great release without making a lingering impact individually. Sleep as a whole does though and shows why Tom The Lion is so keenly thought of by so many. The album does not as mentioned stir up a major fire inside and in thoughts but it does trigger a need to know and hear more.

Sleep is available now digitally, vinyl, and CD on Wrasse Records @ http://www.wrasserecords.com and @ http://roughtrade.com/albums/78835

http://www.tomthelion.com/

8/10

RingMaster 15/08/2014

Copyright RingMaster: MyFreeCopyright

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Mars Red Sky – Stranded In Arcadia

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When the worst you can say about a release is that some of its tracks are merely outstanding it is fair to assume you are in the presence of something special, as in Stranded In Arcadia, the new album from French band Mars Red Sky. The release is a glorious mesmeric adventure casting smouldering and melodically sultry landscapes brewed from stoner and psychedelic rock/pop with a healthy breed of doom seeded shadow to its depths. Even that description does not exactly colour the enthralling and spellbinding encounter, the eight tracks an immersion casting more evocative hues than a hazy summer sunset.

Consisting of vocalist/guitarist Julien Pras, bassist Jimmy Kinast, and drummer Matgaz, Mars Red Sky made their first acclaimed impact with their self-titled album in 2011. It put the band in a certain spotlight which led them to share stages with the likes of Kyuss Lives!, Dinosaur Jr, and Sleep around Europe and light up numerous festivals such as Eurockéennes de Belfort, Roadburn, SXSW, and Desertfests in London and Berlin. A spilt release in 2012 with Year Of No Light only added to their swiftly accelerating rise, an ascent cemented by their Be My Guide EP last year as well as a tour across Europe and shows in Latin America. Stranded In Arcadia though makes all that seem like mere appetisers for its glorious unveiling and If the band was busy and renowned before its release it can expect a tsunami of attention from now on.

A lone guitar caresses ears first, its distant presence an instant coaxing leading towards a senses plundering leviathan built by the bass and mars red sky coverheavy slow rhythms. It is an imposing proposition but one soon tempered by the soaring vocals harmonies which paint the song’s sky. The Light Beyond provides an enthralling start to the album, intrigue and sonic mystique enveloping the imagination whilst the drums conjure rhythms with invention and adventure. The voice of Pras brings another smouldering texture to the developing scenery, his smooth flowing syllables sparking fiery guitar enterprise amid greater intensity as the weight of the track bears sizeably down around the stalking bass predation within the constantly evolving terrain of the song.

It is a bewitching proposition challenging and seducing with skill and dramatic poise and swiftly matched in stature by Hovering Satellites. An immediately more rapacious encounter in riffs and intent, the song stomps with a voracious energy aligned to an infectious festivity. It leads the listener into dark intimidating avenues but with a vivacious smile to its melodies, vocals, and atmosphere which shields from the dark realms of the premise. It is a thrilling encounter but soon left looking paler by the following Holy Mondays. It is sheer majesty straight from its opening jazz lent guitar temptation courted by lean rhythms and percussive coaxing. The sultry but subdued start is soon strolling boldly with contagious riffs and an addictive groove before levelling out its gait for a warm caress of vocals and psyche driven guitar. It is a mesmeric treat but still waiting to unleash its strongest lure, a sirenesque chorus of psychedelic pop with glam rock essences swinging their hips within its compelling flame. More anthemic than a gun to the head, the song becomes a virulence which is inescapable, a lingering seducing which has you smiling broadly as you anticipate its return as a slower beauteous fire plays with the imagination. That stomp does leave another dose of aural manna, seizing even greater control of feet and passions to shape another plateau for the album.

The dark almost antagonistic entrance of Join the Race pushes the diversity and walls of the album further still, its slightly funereal gait retaining a small swagger to its devilment as vocals and melodies tease its stubbornness. To the united contrasts the band weaves expressive designs to embrace and lace thoughts, leading the imagination into a new world of spatial heights and cavernous depths. The band’s skill at interweaving light and dark, peace and danger is exceptional and even more impressive ins their ability to entwine it around a rhythmic frame which never feeds expectations.

The celestial spice of the song is spread more intensively with Arcadia, an instrumental sculpting a psychedelically lit passage of exploration through sizzling sonic expression and dark stalking reflections, guitar and bass an evocative merger haunting and soothing thoughts and visions like puppeteers. All tracks have the same potency, but in particular this provides an episode to mentally and emotionally investigate with fresh rewards through every flight of its journey.

Circles explodes and infects the psyche next, its blues scented sonic phrasing an absorbing narrative alone but graced by the soft smooching of vocals and the dazzling rhythmic conjuration, the song is a melodic hymn for body and soul. It is an irresistible tantalising but soon left in the wake of the quite brilliant Seen a Ghost. The strongest stoner essences welcomes its opening gambit, guitars crooning teasingly as rhythms shuffle rigorously and adventurously through the continually growing canvas of the track. Already an ardour is awakened but it is the cultured stroll and punchy rhythms clad in a breath-taking melodic infection which ignites their full allegiance. Interlocked with expressively ambient bred passages, twisted stoner enticements, and melody seeded ravages, the chorus provides climatic yet calm crescendos which simply set the track into a new ferocity of ingenuity. Not only is it the best track on the album, it is the best song heard this year so far and leaves a touch of frustration when it transforms into the closing track Beyond the Light, a rich and sonically distorted instrumental which washes the senses with its tempestuous finale to the album.

     Stranded In Arcadia is sensational, a giant of an album in sound, songwriting, and presence. Whether psychedelic/stoner/heavy rock has ever sounded this good is a question which Mars Red Sky now has us asking.

Stranded In Arcadia is available via Mrs Red Sound / Listenable Records now!

http://www.marsredsky.net/

10/10

RingMaster 29/04/2014

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